My husband has been experimenting in the kitchen lately, and I was thinking of buying him a deep fryer for his birthday. He's Indian, so he is mostly interested in preparing fried Indian specialties. However, I've been reading about various electric deep fryers and none seem to get great marks. Others have said that using a simple cast iron pot with a thermometer is best. I'm not sure what to do anymore. I want a gift that is fun for hubby but also one that will not become part of the kitchen graveyard either.
Any thoughts on the best equipment for deep frying. Versatility would be nice, but it is not absolutely needed.
I've had 3 electric fryers, and none of them were satisfactory. Them main problem was the heaters were rather weak, so when you added the food, the temp dropped drastically and took a long time to recover. Now I use a pot and probe thermometer. I don't think the material matters too much, as long as it's not too thin, although I recall from an episode of Good Eats that iron can cause the oil to go rancid faster than other metals. Also important is depth. I have a lovely tin lined copper pot that is 7 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep. I can put 1.5 liters of oil in it and not have to worry about boilover. I've looked for pots with similar dimensions without success. If you see one, grab it. Also, whatever you chose, get a grease holder with a built in strainer. There are some nice ceramic models.
<He's Indian, so he is mostly interested in preparing fried Indian specialties>
I feel that if he is an Indian, then he won't need an electric deep fryer. :) Just kidding.
Ask him. Ask him if he would like an electric deep fryer or a traditional Karahi.
A portable induction unit has two powerful advantages for deep frying: there's no flame, an undoubtedly safer situation than with gas, and you can use it out of the kitchen (on a ventilated porch, say), cutting way down on fumes.
I use a quite old and beginning-to-be-worn enameled cast iron Dutch oven for deep frying. Cast iron holds heat pretty well, so the recovery time is short.
Overshooting was a bigger problem for me when I first used the induction-DO setup, but I adjusted and recorded the levels that seem to work best. I look them up every time I fry; not deep frying very often, I haven't internalized them the way I have the power settings for the pressure cooker.
Just as one is infinitely greater than zero, so is deep frying occasionally infinitely more delicious than never deep frying, which is how it used to be around here.
In your situation, an induction unit plus a bare cast iron pot is the way I'd go. And a deep-frying thermometer, a must. [If you have a Thermapen already, there ways to rig it up on the side of the pot so the probe is in the oil. If you don't, just get a thermometer made for the job.]
That way, If your husband tired of deep frying, you'd have the induction unit and a well-seasoned pot available for other cooking uses -- they wouldn't have to head to the graveyard like so many unitaskers do. And I believe deep-frying thermometers are equally useful for candy and sugar work.
While a pot or DO works just fine (as I said before, we use a DO over induction), you will burn and use a lot more oil than you will in a dedicated counter top fryer.
In a pot the flour and crumbs fall to the bottom where they burn. This ruins the oil for future use.
A counter top model usually has the burner(s) suspended above the bottom inside the oil pot itself. This allows the crumbs/flour to fall to the bottom where it takes a lot longer to burn. After frying you can filter the oil and use it again (and again).
re: c oliver
We typically fry a good amount of things that takes us a while. The times we fry "clean" food, or smaller amounts of food, there is less worry about destroying the oil. As a matter of fact I just strained and stored the oil we used to fry up a couple dozen pastry dough "pies". That was a good amount of food, but it was "clean"...meaning there isn't much falling off of it to the bottom of the pot.
Frying shrimp or other seafoods that are breaded in flour is a different story...especially if you're frying for a group and working in small batches.
The longer your oil is at temp with "stuff" settling to the bottom, the quicker you ruin the oil.
I will admit that having owned a restaurant that was somewhat known for our fried seafood, I am probably a tad anal about my grease. I don't like for it to have a certain taste that it gets when it burns too long. I am most likely guilty of tossing oil well beyond where most people would. In the restaurant we filtered twice a day, three times if a fryer was heavily used on a busy day...and I've been known to shut a fryer down in the middle of service and change the oil if I detected a particular smell or taste coming from it.
I have a deep fryer that I should get rid of since I haven't used it in a couple of years. Thanks to a friend who recommended this, I use a DO so there's quite a bit of space between the top of the oil and the top of the pot. So it's not splattering out. Regarding temp, I sometimes use my instant thermometer but when taking a Asian dumpling class I got the rec to put the tip of a chopstick in the pot. If bubbles form around it, the oil is ready for cooking.
Earlier this year, I had a similar question. I bought this one and am happy with it -
Keeps a stable temp
Easy to read temp and timer screen
Easy to clean
Pour lip on the well makes it easy to transfer oil into storage vessel
Almost too small. If I do something like fried shrimp for our family, I need to do it in batches.
Very short cord. I know this is a safety feature but it is still annoying. I use an extension cord.
How about a counter top induction cook top (less than $75.00. on Amazon), http://www.amazon.com/1800-Watt-Portable-Induction-Countertop-8100MC/dp/B0045QEPYM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386781160&sr=8-1&keywords=induction+cooktop
an induction compatible pan and a round mesh fryer basket. You'd definitely have versatility with this setup. I have no experience deep frying like this but I've seen it done on an infomercial. Can anyone add their insight into this type of deep frying? The bottom line in deep frying is how fast does the heat "recover" after adding food. I have two electric tabletop fryers, a large two basket Avantco brand that recovers heat decently
and a Presto Fry Daddy that recovers faster but it’s only suitable for small quantities. I frequently make pakoras and empanadas in this for my wife and I.
I use an induction cooker every day. It's actually the only kind of cooking element I've used in over a year. And I deep fry using my stainless steel pots on the induction cooker. I don't use a thermometer - don't have one. My induction cooker goes from 120-2000 watts. I usually set my IC to 600 watts (sometimes 800 watts depending) for deep frying - it gets plenty hot and stays hot enough.
I should point out that I do small batches of deep frying - it's just the husband and I - so I generally use a pot with probably about 1 liter capacity.
There's no issue with recovery time for heat, really. Nothing for me to complain about, and I'm fairly impatient. It's certainly much faster than when I've used a gas stove. I don't think I'd ever want to do deep frying on a radiant-heat type of stove - that would be painfully slow.
I know this is out of the mainstream and is unconventional knowledge, but I suggest you look at the Pressure Magic and Rapid Chef lines of pressure cookers. I have one and love it. http://www.pro-selections.com/categor...
These are two of the very few cookers in which it is safe to pressure fry or broast (Think KFC). Of course you can deep fry in it conventionally without the lid if you want, too.
The big plus of going this route is you avoid buying a unitasker--you get a fryer and a PC all in one. I would think it's a good fit for Indian cuisine.
Lodge makes a big cast iron Dutch oven, with basket included, especially for deep frying. It's inexpensive, stable, high walled and, of course, doubles as a Dutch oven.
Then get a Thermapen or other accurate quick reading thermometer to monitor the oil temp and help keep it at 375F. (None of the home fryers I've tried (2) could *ever* recoup 375F once the product was put in--one couldn't get to 375 before the product was put it.)
Also heed Mwhitemore's dictum: Never leave the room when deep frying. I would add: Beforehand, setup an uncluttered work space and a stable burner for the pot.
I have a Di Longhi fryer. It has a lid with 2 filters so your home does not get that odor from frying. The fry basket rotates and it is at an angle so the food is moved in and out. The only thing I find to be a PITA is clean up. It is better than most and does have a tube at the bottom so you don't have to lift and pour the oil out. That is a big convenience.
All of the >$100 fryers you see in stores are junk that aren't built to perform or last. They work "ok" and are intended for people who intend to cook with them infrequently. Sure, some folks get by with them and I'm sure love them...but they aren't for me.
Personally, I would spend $200-$350 and get a fryer that performs better, holds more oil, and is built a bit better.
With that said, we currently use a dutch oven on an induction range. LoL
Good luck with your decision.
If using a pot or wok over an open flame, you can *never* leave the room---the risk of fire is too great. Actually, still high if you are in the room, so have an extinguisher and a fire blanket handy. You are right, most consumer level deep fryers stink. Fry Baby and Fry Daddy work OK, are cheap, but no temperature control and not insulated. For a lot more money, a commercial countertop fryer might be the way to go.